The Remember Balloons

By Elisabeth Steinkellner
Illustrated by Michael Roher

About this Program

The MSU Extension Alzheimer's Dementia Awareness for ChildrenStorybook program is designed to teach children about a form of dementia.

The goals of the program are: 

1) increase awareness and knowledge about Alzheimer’s (a form of dementia) and

2) provide supportive resources to children and families when they know a person diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

The authors of this reading guide are:

  • Jennifer Munter, Volunteer Program Coordinator. Jennifer is a former Early Childhood Educator and has worked with children and their families for over 15 years.

  • Marsha A. Goetting, MSU Extension Family Economics Specialist

  • Keri Hayes, MSU Extension Program Assistant

Brief Summary

Granny would comment on Fini's strange hairstyles and help her feed the ducks in the park.  Granny used to travel all over the world and was an amazing cook. Now, Fini's Granny admires wacky hairdos, eats the bread crumbs meant for the ducks, and does not travel or cook anymore.  Eventually, Granny comes to live with Fini and her family because she needs to be watched. She needs help dressing, washing, and sometimes falls asleep underneath the table.  In the end, Fini realizes that she still can interact with her "New Granny" but in different ways.

Questions to Ask

  • Fini explains all the activities her granny used to do.  What were those activities?
  • Granny begins to change and acts differently. What was one strange thing Granny did?
  • Fini’s Mother asked her to watch Granny. What happens when her granny falls asleep?
  • Fini and her mom got angry with one other. Everyone needs extra help from time to time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Who is going to help Fini and her mom?
  • Fini realizes she can help her Granny with a lot of things. What does Fini do to help her Granny?

Activity Enrichment

  • Practice identifying emotions: Have your child draw 5 circles on a piece of paper.  Tell the child each circle represents a face. You draw 5 circles also. After you and your child have created your faces 1) make one face that looks sad, 2) one face that looks happy, 3) another that expresses mad, 4) one that shows scared and 5) one that the face looks excited.  Ask your child to point to the face that expresses how the child feels about the person in their
    life with Alzheimer’s.

Common Reactions

  • Confused: Children may feel confused when they see someone with Alzheimer’s act in strange ways.

  • Angry: Children may get angry when the person with Alzheimer’s yells at them because they do not understand what they did wrong. Children may get angry with a parent who doesn’t support them when the person with Alzheimer’s yells at them.

  • Helpful: Children may want to help take care of someone they love who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Other Tools and Resources

Additional information to assist caregivers with legal and financial resources is available at: 

For other tools and resources, go to:

Other Books in this Program

Other MSU Extension Alzheimer's Dementia Awareness for Children Storybook Program reading guides within this program include (click on the title of the book to go to that particular reading guide link):

  1. Ferguson the Forgetful Frog: A Story About Dementia

    by: Dr. Paul J. Gerber
    Illustrated by Veronica Geran Gerber

  2. A Garden of Flowers: A Story About Alzheimer's
    by Marta Schmidt Mendez 
    Illustrated by Andreea Mironiuc

  3. The Remember Balloons
    by: Jessie Olivero 
    Illustrator by: Dana Wulfekotte

  4. Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants: A Story About Alzheimer’s Disease for Young
    by Barbara Schnurbush
    Illustrated by: Cary Pilo

  5. What a Beautiful Morning
    by Arthur A. Levine
    Illustrated by Katie Kath

  6. When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember: A Child’s Perspective on Dementia
    by Toby Haberkorn
    Illustrated by Heather Varkarota

Funding for purchase of the storybooks in this program have been made possible by a grant from the Montana Geriatric Education Center at the University of Montana, AARP Montana, and by the Endowment fund from National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS). 



Montana Community Foundation

Additional support provided by:

Alzheimer's Association